CARLINVILLE, IL – Blackburn College is among a select group of institutions to be named an entitled institution by Gateways to Opportunity to help graduate students ready to provide quality care and education to young children in Illinois. As the state continues to face a shortage of early childhood educators, students at Blackburn College have the opportunity to qualify for state-recognized credentials as they take courses or complete a degree through the education department. Blackburn was approved for the ECE Credential – Levels 2, 3, 4, & 5.
Dr. Cindy Rice, Blackburn’s Education Department Chair, stated, “Aligning our coursework with the Gateways Credentials program allows students the opportunity to be awarded these state credentials while completing their degree. While this will help fill critical early childhood positions, this is also a great career development opportunity for Blackburn students and will enhance their pathway to success. In addition, for current child care providers in our surrounding communities, access to state-required coursework and training is accessible at Blackburn College.”
Blackburn has always sought to find innovative solutions for systemic problems, including the teacher shortage crisis in Illinois. In July, Blackburn launched the Teacher Licensure Program to accelerate the training of highly qualified teachers in areas of the state most in need. In just one year, the inaugural class of teachers-in-training will be able to pass their edTPA and transform student lives in the classroom full-time.
“In these uncertain times, it is critical that young learners receive an excellent and equitable education from well-prepared teachers,” Blackburn President Mark Biermann said, “The early-childhood-educator preparation program through Gateways is yet another example of how our faculty and staff continue to support the professional development of our students and provide a college experience unlike anywhere else.”
Gateways to Opportunity, Illinois Professional Development System, is designed to provide guidance, support, and recognition to practitioners who serve children and families in Illinois. All Gateways to Opportunity Credentials have competencies that reflect multiple professional standards, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards.